Surgery After Massive Weight Loss


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Following weight reduction surgery, or any substantial amount of weight loss, the skin and tissues often lack elasticity and cannot conform to the reduced body size. As a result, skin that has been severely stretched now is unsupported. Upper arms may sag and appear loose and full, breasts may flatten and hang with nipples pointed downward, abdominal area may extend around the sides and into the lower back area, resulting in an apron-like overhang and/or buttocks, groin and thighs can sag and cause hanging pockets of skin.

Surgical body contouring following major weight loss improves the shape and tone of your underlying tissue that supports fat and skin, and removes excess sagging fat and skin. The result is a more normal appearance to the body, with smoother contours. This is, in essence, the final phase of your total weight loss experience. The tradeoff for these improvements is lengthy and often visible scars. Of course, scars fade in time and are strategically placed so as to be as inconspicuous as possible.

Before you decide to undergo body contouring following major weight loss, your weight loss must be stabilized. If you continue to lose weight, sagging pockets will redevelop. If you rapidly regain the weight, you will traumatically stress your already weakened and thinned skin, causing further stress to the skin, visible stretch marks and wide scars.

The results of a body contouring following aggressive weight loss are visible almost immediately. However, it may take as many as one to two years or more for the final results of all the recommended body contouring procedures to fully develop.

In order to achieve the best results, you will most likely need a combination of the following procedures:

Often, multiple body areas need to be addressed through a variety of body lifting and contouring procedures. Needless to say, the entire process can be an extensive undertaking and is most often performed in stages. Post-bariatric surgery is highly individualized and is customized according to the patient’s needs and personal goals. Dr. Shinn will discuss with you how best to stage your procedures to achieve the results you desire within the constraints of your budget and time for recovery. Again, in planning for these body contour procedures, special attention has to be given for optimizing safety and minimizing potential complications. Although insurance coverage is often available for the actual weight loss procedure (gastric banding, gastric bypass), insurance companies generally do not cover the plastic surgical procedures following the weight loss.